Forty years after first engaging in quantum computing, IBM is ready to extend the technology beyond the lab and into more practical applications – such as supercomputers! The company has already reached a number of important stages in development since its launch its previous quantum roadmap in 2020including the 127-quatt Eagle processor it uses quantum chains and the Qiskit Runtime API. IBM announced on Wednesday that it plans to further scale its quantum ambitions and has revised the roadmap for 2020 with an even higher goal of operating the 4,000-cubic-meter system by 2025.

Before building the largest quantum computer to date, IBM plans to launch its 433-cubic-meter Osprey chip later this year and migrate Qiskit Runtime to the cloud in 2023, “bringing a server-free approach to the core quantum software stack.” , according to Wednesday’s release. These products will be followed later that year by Condor, a quantum chip that IBM charges as “the world’s first universal quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits.”

This rapid quadruple jump in quantum volume (the number of qubits packed in the processor) will allow users to run longer and longer quantum chains, while increasing the processing speed – measured in CLOPS (chain layer operations per second) – from a maximum 2,900 OPS to over 10,000. Then it’s just a matter of quadrupling that capacity in less than 24 months.

To this end, IBM plans to first receive sets of multiple processors to communicate with each other both in parallel and in series. This should help develop better mitigation schemes and improve processor coordination, both necessary components of future practical quantum computers. IBM will then design and implement chip-level connectors that will “closely connect multiple chips together to effectively form one and larger processor,” according to the company, and then build quantum communication links to connect those more. large multiprocessors together in even larger clusters – essentially connecting ever larger groups of processors together while forming a functional, modular computing platform with 4,000 qubits.

“As quantum computing grows, we are beginning to see ourselves as more than quantum hardware,” IBM researcher Jay Gambetta wrote on Wednesday. “We are building the next generation of computers. To take advantage of our world’s leading hardware, we need to develop the software and infrastructure that can take advantage of it. ”

As such, IBM launched a set of ready-made primitive programs earlier this year, “pre-built programs that allow developers to easily access quantum computing outputs without requiring a complex understanding of the hardware,” according to the company. IBM intends to expand this program in 2023, which will allow developers to run them on parallel quantum processors. “We also plan to improve primitive performance with low-level compilation and post-processing methods, such as the introduction of error suppression and mitigation tools,” Gambeta said. “These advanced primitives will allow algorithm developers to use Qiskit Runtime services as an API to include quantum schemas and classic routine programs to build quantum workflows.

These workflows will take a problem, break it down into smaller quantum and classical programs, swallow these processes in parallel or sequentially depending on which is more efficient, and then use an orchestration layer to “connect” all these different data streams. back to a consistent result that classical computers can understand. IBM calls its own sewing infrastructure Quantum Serverless and, according to the new roadmap, will deploy the feature in its core quantum software stack in 2023.

“We think that by next year we will start prototyping quantum software applications for users who hope to use Qiskit Runtime and Quantum Serverless to handle specific uses,” Gambeta said. We will begin to define these services with our first test case – machine learning – working with partners to accelerate the path to useful quantum software applications. By 2025, we believe that model developers will be able to explore quantum applications in machine learning, optimization, finance, science and beyond.

“For many years, CPU-oriented supercomputers have been the workhorse in the processing community, with IBM serving as a key developer of these systems,” he continued. “The last few years have seen the emergence of AI-oriented supercomputers, where processors and GPUs work together in giant systems to handle heavy AI loads. IBM is now ushering in the era of the quantum-centric supercomputer, where quantum resources – QPUs – will be woven together with processors and graphics processors into computing. We believe that the quantum-centric supercomputer will serve as a core technology for those who solve the most difficult problems, those who do the most revolutionary research, and those who develop the most modern technologies.

Together these hardware and software systems will become IBM Quantum System Two as the first prototype is scheduled to go into service at some point next year.

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